SIPTU is focused on uniting workers in the fight against racism and discrimination, the union’s Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, told a very well attended We Shall Overcome event, marking the 50th anniversary of the Northern Ireland civil rights movement, in Liberty Hall, today (Saturday, 10th November). Buckley said: “In recent weeks, unfortunately, we have seen political discourse in our Republic again polluted by racism and ethnic discrimination. A failed TV personality from a programme that amounts to little more than a propaganda vehicle for exploitive capitalism, decided to breath some fire into his absolute joke of a bid to become our President by attacking members of the Travelling community. “In Casey, Ireland found a man all too willing to play the lowest common denominator principle of politics. In attempting to unite the all too real issue of a lack of public housing with prejudice against the Traveller community he sought to stir-up some of the worst emotions that lurk in the depths of our society.  “As well as pervert the battle to deal with the all too real housing emergency in this country, Casey and those that cheered on his ignorant utterances, wished to play on the fears of rural communities who have suffered years of austerity, resulting in the all too real dangers which emerge from the closing of Garda stations, declining community services and crime bred by increasing inequality.  “We in SIPTU and the wider trade union movement have always stood for the real solutions to the social problems which Casey and his like prefer to whip up and feed off for their own personal benefit. It must also be greatly welcomed that the politics of division did not prevail. Instead, the people voted overwhelmingly for a politics of hope and solidarity with the election of President Michael D Higgins.” Buckley said that key to solving division between workers was the creation of good jobs. She added: “Overlaying all of the insecurity that working class people are experiencing on the island is the almost exponential growth of precarious work which, combined with the housing scandal creates a perfect storm for many young workers, depriving them of the possibility of full and active participation as citizens.” Other speakers and the We Shall Overcome event included human rights lawyer and founder member of People’s Democracy, Michael Farrell, Bernadette McAliskey, Fr Peter McVerry, Director of the National Women's Council of Ireland Orla O'Connor and the Preisdent of the ICTU, Sheila Nunan.